5 Budgeting Tips from Money-Saving Moms
by Joy O.
Mother's Day is just around the corner (May 14), which means it's time to celebrate the moms and mother-figures in our lives who have taught us the important things like how to be kind to others, how to sacrifice for the people you love most, how to work hard without complaining and how to give a lot with very little.
Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money, but I never felt like we went without. My mom knew how to create a life of abundance on a tight budget and her example taught me so much about how to save every penny and invest in the things that really matter.
The most valuable lesson my mom taught me about budgeting was that experiences are far more valuable than things. We never went on fancy vacations or received expensive gifts over the holidays, but my mom was intentional about creating inexpensive (or free!) memories together as a family.
We would go camping rather than staying in a hotel. On weekends we would go for family hikes or outings to the public library. My mom encouraged us to use our imaginations with the toys that we had, rather than buying new toys all the time. Because of my mom's emphasis on experiences, I instill the very same values in my own family as an adult, choosing activities over material things to create memories that we will always cherish.
Thinking about all the things my mom taught me about budgeting got me thinking about what other people learned about budgeting from their moms, so I reach out to a few of my favorite finance bloggers and Redditors (Reddit contributors) to find out their favorite mom-inspired budgeting tips.
5 Budgeting Tips from Money-Saving Moms
Below, I've compiled a list of a few of my favorite mom-inspired budgeting tips. I bet you'll recognize a few from your own childhood.
1. Put a portion of each paycheck directly into your savings account.
If you are paid once or twice a month, the time between paychecks can lag. When payday finally rolls around, it's hard to resist a dinner out or a shopping spree. Of course, it's important to treat yourself every once in a while.. so how can you ensure that you don't blow your paycheck all at once? Try transferring a portion of each paycheck directly into your savings account. Some people start with 20%. If that's too much, try just 10%. Every little bit counts, and it will help you to build your savings over time.
2. When it comes to shopping, know how to find the best bargain.
Whether you're shopping for home essentials, groceries or clothes, our moms taught us how to find the best bargains on everyday goods. For bigger items like furniture, yard sales are a great option. For smaller household items like dishes and silverware, check your local dollar store for a cheaper option while you save up for a nice set. Coupons are also a great way to stock up on discounted items. However, if there isn't a sale, the best mom trick is to ask the clerk for a discount. It can't hurt!
3. Only stock up on bulk sale foods if you can preserve it.
Groceries are often the hardest item to save money on. Of course, food is necessary, but how do you find the best deals without having to give up quality? My favorite tip my mom gave me on grocery shopping on a budget is to stock up on items that go on sale. For example, meat often goes on sale in bulk and can be frozen to last longer. You can also shop for canned goods and freezer food in bulk when they go on sale. Produce can be tricky because it goes bad so quickly. Consider dehydrating, jarring or canning any produce while the sales are hot.
4. Write down your budget.
Budgets can be tough to stick to. Regular expenses are easy to keep track of, but unexpected expenses can be difficult to plan for and keep up with. That's why the best money-saving moms recommend writing down your budget. Set monthly and annual goals for building a savings and paying off debt. Then figure out exaclt how much spending money you actually have after monthly expenses. Luckily, technology has made it easier to track your budget since our moms' budgeting days, with apps like EveryDollar, Mint and PocketGuard.
5. Know the difference between want and need.
When you're on a tight budget, it can feel like you don't have extra money to spend on things you want. It's important to realize that it's okay to skip the items you don't need. At first it might feel like a big sacrifice, but as your savings account grows, you will realize the value of spending money only on the things that you truly need. Kumiko Ehrmantraut, owner of The Budget Mom, sent me one of her favorite quotes from her mom, "If you don't need it, then you better want it bad, because it's gonna cost you."
My mom lived by many of these principles and her example is a huge part of why I can smartly manage my own finances today. If you have a mom or mother-figure who taught you all the smartest tips on doing more with less, take a moment to thank her this Mother's Day (May 14).
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